Summer marks return of 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers

State News

Nationwide, more than 30 percent of deaths involving teen drivers occurs during what’s called the “100 Deadliest Days,” a period that runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 

“Now that the CDC has lifted many pandemic restrictions, young adults are eager to reconnect with friends, which means young inexperienced drivers will spend more time on the roads,” said Gene LaDoucer, director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “This increases the chance they’ll be involved in a crash. For every mile driven, new teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to adults.”

Nationwide

  • Each year from 2010-2019, an average of 2,081 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes; 636 of those (30%) occurred during the 100 deadliest days.
  • More than 7,038 people died in teen-related summertime crashes from 2010 to 2019.  That’s more than seven people a day, compared to six per day the rest of the year.

North Dakota

  • From 2010-2019, teen drivers were involved in 94 fatal crashes; 32 of the crashes occurred during the 100 deadliest days.
  • A total of 106 people were killed in the teen driver-related crashes; 37 of the deaths occurred during the summer months.
  • In 2019, North Dakota ranked ninth among states with highest per-capita deaths in crashes involving teen drivers.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens ages 16-19.  In fact, six teens are killed each day in crashes that are entirely preventable.  Per miles driven, teen drivers are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be killed in a crash.

“Teens lack the experience, skills and maturity of a seasoned driver, which increases crash risk,” LaDoucer continued. ”These crashes too often result in the loss of life, not just for the teen driver, but also for passenger and others on the road. We all have a vested interest in ensuring that teens are safe behind the wheel.”

Risky Habits

Understanding the risks and knowing the facts will prepare both you and your teen for the road ahead:

  • Driving with passengers.  Teen drivers’ crash risks multiply when they have teen passengers.  Set limits and enforce them.
  • Driving at night. Night driving is more dangerous due to limited visibility, fatigue and impaired drivers on the road. This is especially a risky time for teens. Limit the time your novice driver spends behind the wheel at night. 
  • Not wearing a safety belt. Wearing a safety belt greatly reduces the risk of being hurt or killed in a crash. Make a rule — everyone buckles up for every trip.
  • Speeding. Speed is a leading factor in crashes for teens and adults. Teens need to follow posted speed limit and parents should set a good example and strong rules.
  • Distracted driving.  Teen passengers are the biggest distraction to teen drivers, but cell phones come in second. Many teens admit to interacting with their phone and in-car infotainment systems while behind the wheel despite clear dangers. Make a family rule covering these and other distractions that everyone abides by.
  • Drowsy driving. Teens have a hard time getting enough sleep and often struggle with drowsiness. Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, and teens have the highest risk. Ensure everyone who is behind the wheel has gotten enough sleep.
  • Impaired driving. Driving impaired from alcohol and other drugs puts everyone at risk. Enforce strict zero tolerance rules with your teen and be a good role model.

Advice for Parents

  • Talk with teens early and often about abstaining from dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving.
  • Teach by example, and minimize risky behavior when you drive.
  • Establish a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
  • Conduct at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving with their teen.
  • Enroll your teen in both online and in-person driving courses.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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